David Cameron is best known for being a revolutionary leader of Britain’s Conservative Party, and was elected Prime Minister in 2010. He announced his resignation in 2016 after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.
Born on October 9, 1966, in London, England, David Cameron, a descendant of King William IV, received a quality education and excelled in his studies at a young age. After he became head of Britain's Conservative Party, Cameron sought to modernize it and shed its right-wing image. Dazzling the party and the populace with his bold eloquence, Cameron positioned his party well for the general election of 2010, and when Gordon Brown resigned as prime minister, Cameron replaced him. Cameron and his party won the general elections of 2015, giving Conservatives a substantial majority in the House of Commons. In 2016, Cameron announced his resignation after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.
United Kingdom Prime Minister David William Donald Cameron, a descendant of King William IV, was born into a wealthy British family on October 9, 1966, in London, England. Raised in Peasemore, Berkshire, his father Ian was a stockbroker, and his mother Mary Fleur, a retired justice of the peace.
After attending the elite Heatherdown Preparatory School, Cameron went on to prestigious Eton College at the age of 13. He later attended Brasenose College, Oxford, from which he graduated in 1988 with a first-class honors degree in philosophy, politics and economics.
Early Political Career
Upon graduating, Cameron worked for the Conservative Party's research department, where he remained for five years. The day he was scheduled for a job interview at the Conservative Central Office, someone from Buckingham Palace put in a good word for Cameron. According to a March 2007 Daily Mail article, "the testimonial, of which Cameron was unaware, was an early intimation of how the ambitious Etonian was helped by well-placed friends and family."
In 1991, Cameron began briefing then-Prime Minister John Major, and the following year he was promoted as special adviser to Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont. Later, Home Secretary Michael Howard recruited Cameron to work for him, primarily in a media relations role. In 1994, Cameron left politics to work as the director of corporation affairs at Carlton Communications, a British media company. He resigned from that role in 2001 in order to continue his pursuit of a Parliamentary seat, which he won, representing the Oxfordshire town of Witney.
Leader of Conservative Party
Cameron was declared leader of the Conservative Party after winning December 2005 elections. His victory was due in large part to his vow to inspire a new generation; he wanted people to "feel good about being Conservatives again," according to an October 2005 BBC article, which also quoted him as saying, "I want to switch on a whole new generation." Cameron said that Conservatives had to evolve, otherwise further movement to the right would turn the party into a "fringe group."
Seeking to modernize the party and shed its right-wing image, Cameron dazzled the Conservative Party and the populace with his bold eloquence and positioned it well for the 2010 general elections. When Gordon Brown resigned as prime minister, Cameron replaced him, thus at age 43 becoming the youngest prime minister of the United Kingdom since 1812.
First Coalition Government Since WWII
Among Cameron's first actions was forming a pact with Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg—a move that resulted in the first coalition government since World War II. "We have some deep and pressing problems—a huge deficit, deep social problems, a political system in need of reform," The Telegraph quoted Cameron as saying. "For those reasons, I aim to form a proper and full coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. I believe that it [is] the right way to provide this country with the strong, the stable, the good and decent government that I think we need so badly."
He went on to say, "Nick Clegg and I are both political leaders who want to put aside party differences and work hard for the common good and for the national interest."
Wins 2015 General Elections
There was much anticipation in the campaigns leading up to Britain's 2015 general elections, with the Labor and Conservative parties in what appeared to be an extremely close race. Yet the final tally proved otherwise, with Cameron and his party pulling off a major victory. Cameron thus remained prime minister and the Conservative Party won 24 more seats in the House of Commons for a total of 331 members.
Labour Party leader Ed Miliband stepped down from his position after election results came in, as did Clegg, who saw Liberal Democrat seats reduced from 57 to eight.
In April 2016 news of the Panama Papers — leaked documents that reveal how the world's wealthiest individuals and public officials legally evade taxes through offshore accounts — found its way to Cameron's doorstep.
Cameron admitted to profiting from an offshore investment fund set up decades ago by Cameron's late father, Ian Cameron, although he claimed he sold his shares before becoming Prime Minister in 2010.
Thousands of British citizens protested in early and mid April calling for his resignation.
Brexit and Resignation
But Cameron's resignation wouldn't come from the Panama Papers. After a controversial and polarizing referendum on whether to separate from the European Union, the U.K. shocked the world on June 24, 2016, when it announced that it would indeed exit the Union. (The final vote tally showed that 48.1% of Brits voted against leaving, while 51.9% voted in favor of leaving.)
Upon the final vote count, an emotional Cameron — who had fought to stay in the E.U. — stated he would resign.
"I will do everything I can in the future to help this great country succeed," he stated fighting back tears. "I think the country requires fresh leadership. I do not think I can be the captain to take the country to its next destination."
Cameron married Samantha Sheffield in 1996, and the couple have four children. Their first child, Ivan, died at the age of 6, from a combination of cerebral palsy and a form of severe epilepsy.